Thursday, March 31, 2011

My List of Baby Necessities & Where to Find Them

I get asked this question a lot:

"What are some baby items you couldn't have lived without?"

Most of the answer seekers are either by expecting mothers or women friends of mine that are going to be attending a baby shower and want to buy a practical gift. I always sit and think for a moment, but I do have a couple of things that made life so much easier and some of them I wish I would have stumbled upon earlier.

The last months of my pregnancy with nesting urges in full force I would search "baby must haves" or "newborn item check list" into google and I was always disappointed by the results because of how vague all the "must-haves" were. Hum... Diaper ointment. Ok but what kind?! I know that I am a little more I don't know... obsessive maybe? When it comes to anything for Maisie. Is it organic? Will it last? Is it high quality? But what can I say I just like having peace of mind.

At first I had to remind myself that in no way buying "the best" things for your child instill the love you have for them. Because if there IS one thing they truly need, is just that; love. But for some reason there is this crazy urge to buy everything in sight that is expensive or flashy. Honestly, your child will not know the difference, but there are some items that will make a difference for you. If only we women could purchase a robot to clean the house, or take a pill that could sprout an extra arm in times of need, but unfortunately that is not the case. I have a list that in the crazy-sleep-deprived state-of-taking-care-of-a-newborn/infant soon to be toddler that just may help get the job done with a little less tears (from both you and your child). These products have been put to the test by Austin, myself and Maisie and as great as they have worked for us, they may not work as great for you, but it may give you ideas and heck it's worth a shot right?

Let the list begin:

The Happiest Baby on the Block- book
Thanks Jana!
find a copy here

Aden and Anis- muslin swaddling blankets
Perfect for all weather. Never worry about baby overheating. Soft and durable and oh so easy to swaddle. Maisie is 10 1/2 months old and we still swaddle
her. These blankets can be used for so long and so versatile. A summer stroller blanket, a shade canopy for a carseat or stroller, changing pad cover, nursing cover, perfect play blanket. The options are endless!
find some here
Maisie 1 1/2 months old

Fisher Price Rock & Play Sleeper
We used this thing by far the most than any other baby item. We used it as a bedside co-sleeper for 6 months then we used it to travel when we would go down to Salem. It was amazing. She was safe and cozy and it was extremely portable. I know some people who would take theirs out to restaurants! It folds almost completely flat is soft and breathable, has a strap when they start trying to sit up, has a slight incline for babies who have reflux. This was an incredible buy. Maisie now tries to climb out of it, but we have it stored away because we will definitely be using this for baby # 2
find one here
Maisie 2 months old

Cloud B- Sleepy Sheep (to-go)
Most people know babies LOVE white noise. And it makes total sense. Think about it... your baby when growing in womb was constantly lulled by swooshing. I read some where that in utero it's about as loud as a vacuum cleaner. Crazy huh?! Anyway, when Maisie was a newborn and 8 o'clock rolled around she got a bit colicky. She wouldn't nurse, she wouldn't sleep. So it made us get creative. Our old apartment had carpet in the bedrooms/living area and as much as she liked to be rocked in the rocking chair, it grew tiring and wasn't an effortless rock. So we would take the rocking chair into the kitchen (because of the hard floor) and turn on the over-the-stove-microwave-fan and within minutes she was quiet or better yet asleep. So from that day on she has slept with white noise. Even if shes not sleeping it helps to calm her down. So we have a small fan in her room for when shes sleeping at night and also the sleepy sheep to-go on her crib. We liked the to-go one that way it could be portable and we could attach it to the carseat/stroller. The regular size is pretty big and if it were on the carseat it would just add to the already bulkiness. We take the sleepy sheep on long car rides, over night stays in Salem it has been great to us. Plus, if sheep doesn't fit your theme they have a giraffe, whale and polar bear.
find one here
Maisie's nap today. 10 1/2 months
Notice what she's swaddled in?

Video Monitor
Maisie co-slept with us for 6 months before she started to sleep in her crib. A big part was that she was still waking up 2-3 times for night feeds and also, because I was very nervous not being next to her, to make sure she's breathing or whatnot (ok, so I'm a little paranoid so what?). My friend gave us a video monitor and it has been a life saver. It's so nice to see your little one soundly sleep, but it's even nicer to know if they need help.
find one here
read about our first night with the video monitor here
Maisie 9 months.
Do you think she knows I can see her?

Bumbo Baby Seat
Now I know some babies don't like sitting in the bumbo, but for Maisie she loved it. She is a watcher. She likes to sit and listen and the bumbo gave her the first glimpse of what it's like to view the world the way it was intended to be seen. Now there are 2 things I don't like about the bumbo. Number 1- The price point. Number 2- your infant can only use it for a few months. I will give you a tip though. Don't spend $40-50 dollars on a new one. Craigslist it. You can find tons from 10-20 dollars. That's the bonus when they can only be used for a few months. We bought ours for $15 dollars and now it's not upsetting that she no longer uses it. It was a great buy. I highly recommend one.
find one new here
but please, please craigslist it!
Maisie 4 months

Maxi Cosi Carseat-Quinny Zapp Stroller Travel System
I liked the idea of having a travel system, but one thing would come to mind when I would think about the words "Travel. System." Big and bulky. Austin and I are not fans of bulk. We like sleek, small and convenient. We thought that was too much to ask until after months of research we found the Maxi Cosi carseat that can be used as a travel system with the Quinny Zapp stroller. Oh man. This is heaven in a travel system. The stroller folds up into a 2 foot square, is light and has a sleek, modern, European look to it. We adore it. The carseat is great too. Its very roomy and larger than most carseats. My one regret with the carseat is that we bought the "pink Lily" style. Which is adorable and perfect for Maisie, it's just if our next child isn't a girl we will have to buy another one. Hum... so unless your planning on buying new carseats for each child, buy a gender neutral color. The stroller is amazing as a travel system and for short to medium length strolls without the carseat, but it's pretty vertical so it's hard for baby to fall asleep without the head bob. Another down side is there is no snack tray, so again not great for long walks or long shopping sprees. My aunt and cousin donated a stroller that is equipped with an adjustable incline and snack tray. So we have one of those as well.
find the carseat here
find the stroller here
Travel System
Taking a stroll on the Willamette Campus September 2010

Maisie 3 months

Maisie 6 1/2 months

Baby Carrier
I knew early on I would want to "wear" my baby as much as possible. I spent months researching what would be best for us. I had a few narrowed down. The Moby wrap, The Maya wrap and the Babyhawk. The moby-Perfect for newborns. The Maya- Trendy ring sling. The babyhawk- Great support mei tai style wrap. We decided on the Babyhawk for the following reasons. Lots of support, Austin would wear it and you design your own! How cool is that? It took about 4 weeks to get to us, but oh well. We love it. Theres lots of ways to tie it and to be honest I need to learn some more because Maisie is a little wiggle worm and loves to back-bend and it makes me uber nervous. Another carrier I am currently liking is the ergo. After borrowing my neighbors ergo-carrier I am sold. The big reason I didn't get the ergo from the get-go was because you can't carry a newborn in it, but I'm thinking that will be our next carrier. So comfy it's crazy!
Get a babyhawk carrier here
Get an Ergo carrier here
Kruger Farms October 2010

Ergo Carrier
Christmas Tree Farm December 2010
Terrible picture of me, but Maisie looks cute and the only shot we have using the ergo.

Burts Bees Baby Diaper Ointment
This stuff is a serious life saver. A little on the spendy side, $7ish dollars for 2 ounces, but it works crazy good. Maisie has only had one diaper rash before and that was due to the mango she ate, but we have had close calls. I would notice she would be starting to get pink and I would slather her up in the BB diaper ointment and by the next change the pink was almost gone, but for sure by 24 hours it was long gone. Even when she had the full blown diaper rash by 24 hours it was much much better.
find it here
read how the burts bees diaper ointment cured Maisie's first and only diaper rash here

Speaking of Burts Bees I have liked all the products so far. I really like the fragrence free no-tear baby shampoo and body wash. The bubble bath is great and so is the dusting powder. We just started using the new lavender calming cream after Maisie's baths and it smells incredible and leaves Maisie's skin dewy and moisturized.

When Maisie catches a cold I have 2 weapons of attack. 1- the little noses kit. It comes with saline solution and the perfect sized nasal aspirator. It really works great. Another one, thats a little more fun is California Baby cold and flu bubble bath. It has eucalyptus extract and it similar effects of vicks vapo-rub. It helps clear up clogged nostriles and soothes sore throats. It makes great bubbles and who doesn't feel better after a warm bubble bath. An added bonus the container comes with a bubble wand so you can blow bubbles while you bathe with your cold ridden little one. It works like a charm. If anything it I will boost their spirits.
find little noses kit here
find california baby cold and flu bubble bath here
Maisie 9 1/2 months

Well, that's my list for now. I will be sure to add as I can think of some more. This post already turned lengthy pretty fast, but I hope you enjoy my baby must-haves!